The Washington Post

House GOP video courting Hispanics could backfire

House Republicans are eager to expand their appeal to Latino voters. This week, they released this video to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15:

In the spot, GOP leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, pay tribute to the contributions of Hispanic Americans. It includes appearances from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who speaks Spanish in the video, and three other Hispanic members of the GOP conference.

But if the production is intended to make the party seem more open to the interests of Latinos who overwhelmingly supported President Obama's reelection last fall, it might have inadvertently called attention to what House Republicans are not doing: voting on a comprehensive immigration reform package that is a top priority for a majority of Hispanics.

"Enough with these empty gestures. Pass immigration reform already," wrote one viewer in the top comments section under the video on YouTube. "This video is a terrible joke. Do Republicans REALLY think Hispanics are so desperate that they will settle for this crap. We want POLICY solutions, not sweet talking."

Another commenter wrote: "Show your sincerity by passing legislation that supports and benefits Hispanics and recognizes their contribution to our country: take a vote in the House on a comprehensive immigration reform bill."

Most of the other comments are in the same vein. But House leaders have said they will not vote on a Senate-approved plan that features a 13-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Instead, they are focused on a series of smaller-scale bills devoted to increasing border security and temporary work visas.

Obama, who won 70 percent of the Latino vote over Republican nominee Mitt Romney last fall, is continuing his outreach with an interview Tuesday with the Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, during which he is expected to talk about immigration reform and the economy.

 

 

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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